Health Tests

This is NOT something we take lightly.

To ensure each puppy leaving our program is the healthiest Miniature American Shepherd possible, we perform detailed health tests.  All health tests results are available upon request or are posted on each of our individual breeding dogs pages.

Some of the tools good breeders have at their disposal include:

OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) for hips and elbows

CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) for eyes

MDR1 (Multi-Drug Reactivity Test)

DM (Degenerative Myelophathy)

PRA-PRCD (Progressive Retinal Atrophy)

HC (Hereditary Cataracts)

For those interested, here are details related to each of these tests. 


CERF  (Canine Eye Registration Foundation)

Since various eye problems are common in all breeds we feel that our breeding dogs be tested annually by a board certified canine opthamologist which the experts in the field feel very strongly about also. Ideally pups should have their first eye exam done before 8 weeks of age as the opthamologist can sometimes see things at that age that they will not likely see again for a few years.  The reason the test is done annually is that like in people, eyes can change over time.  At the time of testing the opthamologist will complete a form showing the results.  You can see each of our dogs CERF results on their individual pages. 

OFS (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals)

We feel very strongly about this test and ensure it is performed on all our breeding dogs.  At just over a year of age an x-ray is done and submitted to OFA board for a preliminary evaulation of the dogs hips and/or elbows.   At the age of 2 years, another x-ray is taken of the hips and/or elbows which is then sent to the OFA board for final evauluation.  With both the pre-liminary and final x-rays there will be 3 independent expert veterinarians review the x-rays and provide a rating.  The lowest of these ratings is the score given to the dog.  While this does not indicate if a dog may carry the genes to produce hip problems, a higher rating lowers the probability of a pup inheriting hip and elbow defects.


MDR1  (Multi-Drug Reactivity Test)

The MDR1 test will check on a genetic level if a dog is a carrier, double carrier or non carrier.  This is a one time test that is very accurate, it shows exactly the geotype of each dog.  

We have found that even if a dog does not have the MDR1 gene there is still a slight possibility that the dog will react to certain drugs.  Forestwood has opted, going forward, to warn puppy buyers not to use certain drugs.  Please refer to picture above.

 PRA-PRCD (Progressive Retinal Atrophy)

PRA refers to a group of diseases that cause the retina of the eye to degenerate slowly over time.  The result is declining vision and eventually blindness.  PRCD stands for Progressive Rod-cone degeneration which is the type of PRA known in several breeds.  


DM (Degenerative Myelopathy)

This is an incurable, progressive desease of the canine spinal cord.  While, it is very rare in Miniature American Shepherds and Miniature Australian Shepherds, we perform it on all our dogs to eliminate even the slightest chance it could end up in our lines.  


HC (Hereditary Cataract)

HC are an inherited form of cateracts, the most common cause of blindness in dogs.   Essentially it occurs when the clear lens of the eye becomes opaque or white.  This interferes with the dogs vision and puts major strain on the eye resulting in blindness.


TEST RESULTS  (How to read them)

Normal/Normal (N/N or Clear):  The dog does not have the mutation and is extremely unlikely to develop D/M OR PRA.

Normal/Abnormal (N/A or Carrier):  The dog has one mutated copy of the gene and is a carrier but will not have/develop D/M OR PRA.  This dog MUST be bred to a N/N or clear dog so the puppy's will not become at risk for D/M OR PRA.  

Abnormal/Abnormal (A/A or At Risk):  The dog has two copies for the mutation and is at risk for developing D/M OR PRA.